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Bedtime Stories - Tales from Our Commmunity

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Bernetta Gatley
Bernetta Gatley

The Shape Of The World

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The Shape Of The World

After pushing the left control stick forwards, and then wiggling the right stick around to pan the scene, we soon learn that the camera is acting as our eyes. Walking in a particular direction makes the world around you grow, with shapes and colours slowly being introduced as you do so. A triangular-shaped gate soon appears in the distance, luring us in with its mysteriously out-of-place nature, and it's at this point where we are presented with an immediate taste of what this game is really all about.

And what a world it is, too. The game has a very specific art style that is often quite harsh to the eyes in a way, but its evolution on screen is mostly a rather beautiful thing to behold. Each area you stumble across has its own theme (such as a swamp, rainforest, and caves) and the colours, creatures and general vibe change to reflect this as you explore.

I know I'm the odd one out based on others who have posted, however I really like this game a lot. I like the fact that I don't have to do anything but explore. I love RPGs but often I get tired of the non stop combat and just want to be in that world without the stress, this game lets me do that. I only wish it were longer.

This is part one of a two part sequence. Together these are hands-on, learn-by-doing courses that show you how to build solutions to real-world problems using embedded systems. In this course, we take a bottom-up approach to problem solving, building gradually from simple interfacing of switches and LEDs to complex concepts like a microcontroller-based pacemaker, digital lock, and a traffic light controller. We will present both general principles and practical tips for building circuits and programming the microcontroller in the C programming language. You will develop debugging skills using oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, and software instrumentation. Laboratory assignments are first performed in simulation, and then you will build and debug your system on the real microcontroller. At the conclusion of this part 1 you will possess the knowledge to build your own traffic light controller from the ground up.

However, Larrie D. Ferreiro's Measure of the Earth: The Enlightenment Expedition that Reshaped our World manages to be such a story. In documenting the first international scientific expedition to measure a degree of latitude at the equator, he recounts not only a scientific adventure filled with eccentric personalities but a mission that intersects with the politics, culture, and intellectual tenor of the time.

A joint Franco-Spanish expedition was tasked with traveling to Peru to measure accurately a degree of latitude at the equator. Comparing it with another measurement of latitude made in France would enable scientists to know the true shape of the world. An unlikely mix of adventurers, officers, and scientists were assembled to complete a task intended to take only three years. Instead, a difficult environment, caused as much by terrain as the personalities involved, extended the mission to a full ten years.

What best unlocks the nature of the book is its subtitle relating to the Enlightenment. Fundamentally, the scientific mission was designed to settle an ongoing academic debate regarding the shape of the world. To one side were the defenders of René Descartes and on the other the acolytes of Isaac Newton.

While Europeans had long known the shape of the earth they had yet to catalog its exact dimensions. Descartes believed the Earth was elongated at the poles giving it an egg-like shape while Newton thought the spin of the earth caused it to bulge at the equator and flatten at the poles. This debate highlighted the changes occurring in Enlightenment Europe both in the belief in human reason to unlock the mysteries of the universe and the growing professionalism of science.

Ferreiro brings us into the very halls of the French Academy of Sciences where careers were made, and lost, over this debate. But, this was not merely a dry academic question. While the "men of letters" at the French Academy and British Royal Society could overlook political differences in the name of science, government and military officials were well aware that the shape of the earth was of grave importance.

Instead of Earth being like a spinning top made of steel, explains geologist Vic Baker at the University of Arizona in Tucson it has "a bit of plasticity that allows the shape to deform very slightly. The effect would be similar to spinning a bit of Silly Putty, though Earth's plasticity is much, much less than that of the silicone plastic clay so familiar to children."

Earth's shape also changes over time due to a menagerie of other dynamic factors. Mass shifts around inside the planet, altering those gravitational anomalies. Mountains and valleys emerge and disappear due to plate tectonics. Occasionally meteors crater the surface. And the gravitational pull of the moon and sun not only cause ocean and atmospheric tides but earth tides as well.

To keep track of Earth's shape, scientists now position thousands of Global Positioning System receivers on the ground that can detect changes in their elevation of a few millimeters, Gross says. Another method, dubbed satellite laser ranging, fires visible-wavelength lasers from a few dozen ground stations at satellites. Any changes detected in their orbits correspond to gravitational anomalies and thus mass distributions inside the planet. Still another technique, very long baseline interferometry, has radio telescopes on the ground listen to extragalactic radio waves to detect changes in the positions of the ground stations. It may not take much technology to understand that Earth is not perfectly round, but it takes quite a bit of effort and equipment to determine its true shape.

Benjamin, None of the photos show a perfect sphere. You are plain wrong to make such an assertion, simply because of your intuition. As explained by others, above, the difference is so tiny it is not discernible to the naked eye, especially when other shapes, cloud formations and lighting conditions are involved.

Figure of the Earth is a term of art in geodesy that refers to the size and shape used to model Earth. The size and shape it refers to depend on context, including the precision needed for the model. A sphere is a well-known historical approximation of the figure of the Earth that is satisfactory for many purposes. Several models with greater accuracy (including ellipsoid) have been developed so that coordinate systems can serve the precise needs of navigation, surveying, cadastre, land use, and various other concerns.

For surveys of small areas, a planar (flat) model of Earth's surface suffices because the local topography overwhelms the curvature. Plane-table surveys are made for relatively small areas without considering the size and shape of the entire Earth. A survey of a city, for example, might be conducted this way.

The simplest model for the shape of the entire Earth is a sphere. The Earth's radius is the distance from Earth's center to its surface, about 6,371 km (3,959 mi). While "radius" normally is a characteristic of perfect spheres, the Earth deviates from spherical by only a third of a percent, sufficiently close to treat it as a sphere in many contexts and justifying the term "the radius of the Earth".

Since the Earth is flattened at the poles and bulges at the Equator, geodesy represents the figure of the Earth as an oblate spheroid. The oblate spheroid, or oblate ellipsoid, is an ellipsoid of revolution obtained by rotating an ellipse about its shorter axis. It is the regular geometric shape that most nearly approximates the shape of the Earth. A spheroid describing the figure of the Earth or other celestial body is called a reference ellipsoid. The reference ellipsoid for Earth is called an Earth ellipsoid.

It was stated earlier that measurements are made on the apparent or topographic surface of the Earth and it has just been explained that computations are performed on an ellipsoid. One other surface is involved in geodetic measurement: the geoid. In geodetic surveying, the computation of the geodetic coordinates of points is commonly performed on a reference ellipsoid closely approximating the size and shape of the Earth in the area of the survey. The actual measurements made on the surface of the Earth with certain instruments are however referred to the geoid. The ellipsoid is a mathematically defined regular surface with specific dimensions. The geoid, on the other hand, coincides with that surface to which the oceans would conform over the entire Earth if free to adjust to the combined effect of the Earth's mass attraction (gravitation) and the centrifugal force of the Earth's rotation. As a result of the uneven distribution of the Earth's mass, the geoidal surface is irregular and, since the ellipsoid is a regular surface, the separations between the two, referred to as geoid undulations, geoid heights, or geoid separations, will be irregular as well.

The theory of a slightly pear-shaped Earth arose and gained publicity after the first artificial satellites observed long periodic orbital variations, indicating a depression at the South Pole and a bulge of the same degree at the North Pole. This theory contends that the northern middle latitudes are slightly flattened and the southern middle latitudes correspondingly bulged.[3] U.S. Vanguard 1 satellite data from 1958 confirms that the southern equatorial bulge is greater than that of the north, which is corroborated by the South Pole's sea level being lower than that of the north.[8] A pear-shaped Earth had first been theorized in 1498 by Christopher Columbus, based on his incorrect readings of the North Star's diurnal motion.[9]

Modern geodesy tends to retain the ellipsoid of revolution as a reference ellipsoid and treat triaxiality and pear shape as a part of the geoid figure: they are represented by the spherical harmonic coefficients C 22 , S 22 \displaystyle C_22,S_22 and C 30 \displaystyle C_30 , respectively, corresponding to degree and order numbers 2.2 for the triaxiality and 3.0 for the pear shape. 59ce067264


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